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England U20 and U23 championships and World junior Trials

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Ashlee Nelson
Ashlee Nelson - Dominant performance at Bedford

 

For results please visit the England Athletics website

 

 

Day 2 - 22 June 2008

 

 

 

On the second day of action at the England Under 23 and U20 championships, the cruel weather conspired to ensure few junior athletes could take full advantage of setting qualifying marks to reach the World Junior Championships.

 

As the UK awoke to gale force winds across the north – the effects felt in Bedford were enough to make fast times over the longer distances within the stadium an impossibility, and marks set along the straight and horizontal jumps illegal with wind measurements in excess of + 6.0m/s and some athletes lost their last chance to make Poland as part of the GB team.

 

Junior Highlights

 

There couldn’t have been a crueller example of the hand of fate as the track events kicked off with the 400m hurdles finals. Whilst Meghan Beesley (Birchfield Harriers) was able to take her title in a wind-strapped 60.92 to secure her World Junior berth – having achieved qualifying earlier this season, former Tamworth clubmate Nathan Woodward saw his opportunity to qualify blown away. Whilst Woodward was a dominant winner in difficult conditions, his 53.06 was far outside the required standard of 51.50 – a time he achieved in 2007. Second to Woodward was Toby Ulm (Swindon) who also struggled but took silver in 53.60.

 

Beesley later returned to the podium – securing a 100mh gold for her efforts over the shorter distance with 13.83 – just outside the 13.70 mark required.

 

Similarly the high jumpers suffered in the wind, and Adele Lassu (Sale) could only manage 1.74 to take the title ahead of silver winning Erin Leggate (Victoria Park City of Glasgow) with 1.66m. The men were equally afflicted that afternoon, but Matthew Owens (Liverpool Harriers) did enough with 2.09m to secure the title and his passage to the championships having already secured the 2.15 mark earlier in the season.

 

The throwers faired slightly better in the blustery conditions, Brett Morse (Cardiff) winning the men’s discus with 55.13m ahead of Norwegian Eivind Henrikson with 53.98 and Curtis Griffith-Parker (Cambridge) with 51.92. Both Morse and Griffith Parker have secured World Junior qualifying marks earlier in the season.

 

Despite conditions and disappointments for some athletes, the sight of Steph Twell (AFD) back to her determined best was pleasing for the Bedford spectators as she ran away from the field to take the 1500m title. Although Emma Pallant (AFD) made an excellent attempt at keeping with Twell, the European Cross Country champion showed no mercy after a steady start, when she came from the back of the field to clock a 61 second final 400m and take the gold, securing her World Junior place. Pallant in second and Jo Harvey (Exeter) in third also have World Junior qualifying marks for both 1500m and 5000m.

 

In a slow men’s 1500m, a jostling pack could not hold back Dave Forrester (St Helens Sutton), and he broke free to win the Junior title and confirm selection for Bydgoszcz with 4.12.99 – having secured the qualifying at a recent BMC meeting.

 

In the 800m, James Shane made a brave attempt to upset the applecart by taking the final by storm from the front and beating Chris Smith (Wirral) and Rick Ward – two athletes already holding qualifying times for Poland. However his time of 1.52.33 was outside what was needed to claim selection.

 

Less of an upset than a surprise was the performance by U17 triple jumper Ben Williams (City of Stoke) whose 15.76 exceeded the selection standards for the World Juniors and made him the second best on UK U17 rankings behind Jonathan Moore.

 

Other athletes possibly confirming selection with trials winning performances included:

Edirin Okoro (Birchfield Harriers) with a slick 13.68 110m hurdles victory; Abigail Irozuru (Sale) whose 6.29m was helped by a 2.1m/s wind reading; Ashlee Nelson (City of Stoke) completing a sprint double success over the weekend with 200m victory in 23.83 ahead of Sale’s Shauna Thompson with 24.25; Jamie Stevenson (Newham & Essex) securing the title and a championship record with 18.47m in the shot; Alison Leonard taking 800m gold in 2.06.86 and Richard Kilty (Gateshead Harriers) taking the 200m title with 21.37.

 

 

 

Under 23 highlights

 

Eilidh Child (Pitreavie) was an impressive 400m hurdles winner with 59.18, as she too struggled in the blustery conditions which meant the back straight was sapping energy from all the one-lap athletes on Sunday’s programme.

 

The wind put paid to what could have been one of the weekend’s most interesting battles as Jayne Nisbet (Edinburgh) took the high jump title ahead of Steph Pywell and Jess Leach (Birchfield Harriers). Nisbet’s 1.82m, was enough for the U23 gold, with Pywell and Leach both clearing 1.78m for silver and bronze.

 

Nisbet later went close to taking a high jump – triple jump double as she led for much of the triple jump. However the busy Edinburgh athlete had to settle for second with 12.96m to Sineade Gutzmore (Highgate Harriers) who set a PB with 13.02m

 

There was an interesting battle in the men’s hammer, with Amir Williamson (Newham & Essex) getting the better of both Alex Smith (Sale) and James Bedford (Birchfield) to take the U23 title. Williamson’s 64.91m, eclipsed Smith’s 64.76m to turn the tables on Smith  – who still holds the championship best record for the junior age group.

 

It continued to be a busy weekend for Eden Francis (Birchfield Harriers), and on Sunday morning she dominated the women’s shot, winning with 15.51m ahead of Chloe Edwards (Huntingdon) whose 14.09m secured silver.

 

The sprinters were treated to a intense backwind in excess of +6m/s in the latter stages of Sunday afternoon – Gianni Frankis (Basildon) one of many to benefit and take the U23 gold, continuing where he left off at Junior level. Meanwhile over the one lap distance, Henrietta Kodilinye Sims (Newham & Essex) put in an impressive performance in winning the u23 title with a creditable 54.42 on a day when conditions were adding 2 seconds to the longer sprint times.

 

 

 

Day 1 - 21 June 2008

 

 

 

On a rainy-grey day in Bedford the under 23 and Under 20 championships hosted a variety of excellent performances as the Junior athletes sought confirmation of place in the Norwich Union GB team for the World Junior Championships at Bydgoszcz.

 

Junior highlights

 

The throwers were amongst the first to book their plane tickets to Poland with Peter Smith (Kingston Upon Hull) and Sophie Hitchon (Blackburn) taking the Junior Hammer titles. Peter’s 71.05m once again surpassed the World Junior mark of 69m and UK record holder Sophie’s 60.49m was another dominate performance beyond the 57.50m standard and close to her 60.73m record.

 

In the women’s pole vault, Jade Ive (Sutton & District) took the Junior title and confirmed her place to Bydgoszcz – although her 3.80m effort could not better the qualifying mark of 3.95, Ive had already achieved it at her area championships last week, and during the indoor season with a 4.00m effort.

 

Ashlee Nelson (City of Stoke) confirmed her Bydgoszcz ticket with an emphatic women’s 100m victory, however her 11.58 was not enough to pull Elaine O Neil (Woodford Green Essex Ladies) to a qualifying mark, despite a gutsy challenge from the silver winning athlete.

 

Unfortunately there was a double dose of bad luck in the men’s 100m final. It was looking to be a fantastic race between James Alaka (Blackheath & Bromley) and Jordan Huggins (Enfield & Haringey) when the Enfield man was forced to pull up dramatically at 60m as he reacted in a way that suggested a hamstring injury. Alaka continued to take a world deserved title but was distressingly just 2 one-hundredths outside the World Junior qualifying mark with 10.52 for his effort.

 

Scott Huggins (Blackheath & Bromley) took pole vault victory for second year in the row. In doing so he beat Andrew Marsh (City of Stoke) into second, but Marsh unlike Huggins has already secured the World Junior qualifier of 5.20m.

 

Under 23 Highlights

 

Saturday’s top performances from the older age group included:

 

Amy Harris (Birchfield Harriers) beating Dominique Blaize (Kingston) to the U23 long jump title with 6.16m ahead of 6.03m.

 

In the men’s high jump a tantalizing battle failed to develop in the grey drizzle with Nick Stanisavljsvic (Woking) taking victory with 2.14m forcing Robbie Grabarz to settle for silver with 2.10m.

 

Dani Samuals (Wigan) broke Claire Smithson’s three year old championship record for discus twice in the final, with her 58.26 taking the gold from Birchfield’s Eden Francis with 52.74m.

 

Emma Jackson (City of Stoke) demonstrated her middle distance class with a dominant win in the women’s 800m. She ran from the front, gradually winding up the pace and getting further a way from the chasing Tara Bird (Woodford Green Essex Ladies) in second place, to win in an almost leisurely 2.04.61.

 

For results please visit the England Athletics website